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Education, Child Labor and Human Capital Formation in Selected Urban and Rural Settings of Pakistan

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Abdul Salam Lodhi

Education is essential for human resource development and sustainable socio-economic development of a society, as it can facilitate economic growth through the broader application of knowledge, skills, and the creative strength of a society. The other positive and long-term outcomes of education include the reduction of poverty and inequality, improvement of health status and good governance in the implementation of socio-economic policies. Keeping in view the role that education through human capital formation can play in the development of Pakistan where the population of the children below 14 years old is about 35 percent of the total population; this study aims at delineating the factors that are obstructing the educational activities of the children below the age of 14 years. Furthermore, the main research interest in this study was to see how pecuniary and non-pecuniary factors are impeding the process of human capital formation. The results indicate that variables such as parental education and perceptions of secular and non-secular education, role of mother in domestic authority, believe in tribal norms, religiosity of the head-of-household, child age and gender, and proximity to school are playing a significant role in the choice of childhood activities.

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3 Parental Perceptions of Secular School Education and Human Capital Formation

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3.1 Introduction In countries where sending children to school for basic education is not obligatory, the formation of human capital is largely dependent on the parents’ decisions. Their perceptions regarding the existing type of secular school education compared to other available alternate activities for their children, such as religious schooling, child labor, and/or remaining inactive, might affect their decision. This may determine the level of human capital formation and the country’s literacy rates in coming years. Previous literature on the issue of decision-making regarding childhood activities, such as education, child labor, etc., emphasized the importance of the parents’ level of education. It has been empirically shown that better educated parents have better educated children (Haveman and Wolfe 1995; Hertz et al. 2007; and Pronzato 2010). Hence, parental education is an important policy issue, as it is likely that increasing current secular school education would enhance the schooling of the next generation. Meanwhile, there is a lack of consensus as to whether both the paternal and maternal secular school education has the same impact on the intergenerational transmission of education. In their studies on the intergenerational transmission of schooling, Behrman and Rosenzweig (2002) and Duryea and Arends-Kuenning (2003), found that the father’s formal schooling is a more important factor. On the other hand, other literature emphasizes that maternal education is more effective for the schooling of the children.59 The importance of understanding the intergenerational transfer of education cannot be ignored in the context of most of the medium to low developing...

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